I will start off by saying I am a Path apologist. I love the app; it is my go-to for sharing moments from my phone. The design is cutting edge, and the concept works well. I began using it around their second major release (found out about it here) before their last privacy kerfuffle. This was serious, but they fixed the issue almost immediately. They ended up paying an FTC fine for accidentally collecting this contact data from minors (which, again, it immediately deleted).

Path went on its merry way, creating new ways to interact for Facebook to copy (see: Path’s search and Graph Search, launched in beta a month later). But when the only major story about you has been a privacy issue, that seems to be all anyone remembers. This past issue frames new attempts at growth in a bad light, which is why the tech media is accusing Path of spammiing users’ contacts.

The “spam” in question, which, albeit annoying, is far preferable to whatever other monolithic networks are doing without telling you. Furthermore, it is most likely due to user error. I have never heard any of my contacts complaining about spam from Path (contacts – please correct me if this assumption is wrong), and I know from use that there are 2 prompts to go through before Path gets any of my contacts’ info. It invited a couple family members, but only when I specifically told it to do so. Path’s biggest issues here are occasional lag time (which is probably why these “spam” messages were sent after this guy uninstalled the app) and selecting everyone for invite by default. It is a little uncouth, but it is an easy fix – last I checked (after the latest update), the “Invite Friends” list left my contacts unchecked by default.

I realize that some people see this as a second strike on privacy, but the team at Path has shown that, while they make a few sloppy mistakes every once in a while, they are committed to fixing those mistakes and keeping users’ trust, not alienating them as the tech media seems to think. No matter how douchey the CEO might be, people should soon realize Path makes a product they would enjoy greatly, and is FREE TO USE. They occasionally accidentally use your data to contact people you know, and then fix it when they realize the mistake. In my book, that always beats selling your data to people you will never meet.

via Tumblr http://craigpilcher.tumblr.com/post/49436742387

Facebook is causing me major hipster backlash. I wasn’t there first, but I was damn sure there before they let just anyone use it. It was such a different place when you actually had a Wall, and the big addition was uploading pictures.

It has evolved into a hideous amalgamation of all the things you do on the internet, or at least it is trying to do that. I admit that this is the only way I use it now, but I’m almost ashamed to still use it, even in that way. People on Twitter are more interesting and up to date, and people on Google+ are more engaged. Foursquare does its one thing better than everyone else. Tumblr handles memes and things far better, and you can make it your own.

But Path is different. It is what people initially put into their Facebook profile before it spirals out of control. Poignant and personal. No more or less information than you need. Limits on your connections force you to choose who you share with. Its focus on design is so great that Facebook has no problem copying it outright.

I still do not have the courage to drop off of Facebook, but I am close. Shareholders and the new drive to monetize everything I put into it make me wary of putting anything else into it. But I am trying to find a reason past sheer disgust. I want others to share that disgust and subsequently make their own exodus. If they are worth it, I will find them wherever they end up.

Update (2/5): Looks like I wasn’t far off.